Today, the average American adult spends between 50 to 70 percent of their day seated at work. More than 30 percent of adults in the U. S are obese, and Musculoskeletal disorders account for more than a third of all the injury and illness costs of businesses in the U.S.
If you are like most office going people, your work requires you to be seated at your desk for extended periods. Living a sedentary life is exposing yourself to the risks of injuries, musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic pain – All of which will negatively impact both your health and productivity at work.
Therefore, to prevent chronic health issues enhancing your well-being, it is essential to implement healthy habits at your workplace through office ergonomics.
What is office Ergonomics?
Ergonomics is a science of redesigning your workplace to fit both the capabilities and limitations of a worker. The main goal of office ergonomics is to design your workstation in such a way it promotes a comfortable working environment for efficiency and productivity. Working in an ergonomic office helps avoid discomfort and fatigue.
Often, individuals who don’t work in an ergonomic environment that is usually associated with poor design suffer from discomfort in the neck, back, shoulder, wrists, and hands. They will also experience frequent headaches and eye strain.
Why is Office Ergonomics Important?
Apart from keeping employees in the office safe, office ergonomics comes with plenty of benefits:
Help reduce operating costs
When you invest in office ergonomic strategies, you indirectly reduce ergonomic risk factors such as musculoskeletal disorders. MSDs typically occur as a result of repetitive movement and poor posture. By offering office ergonomics at the workplace, these risks drastically decrease. It is estimated that about one-third of compensation paid to workers by businesses in the U.S are due to MSDs.
Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of office ergonomics is its capability to boost employee productivity—a workplace designed to promote good posture natures a more efficient work process. There are less repetitive actions, easier reaches, and heights and less exertion. The more efficient the office is the more productivity.
Quality of work
Offices that have poor ergonomics often have irritable and tired employees, who don’t put in their best work. Due to poor working conditions, they are bound to miss important details concerning their duties. Investing in office ergonomics helps keep employees in their best shape, improving focus and quality of work.
Improves employee engagement
Office ergonomics helps reduce employee turnover, boost confidence and morale, lessens absenteeism, and increases employee involvement in tasks. Employees are more likely to appreciate a workplace if it works hard to see to their health and safety.
Office Ergonomics Basics
In case you are looking to give your workplace a makeover, the following are a few things you need to do;
Pick a chair that can effectively support your spinal curves. When seated on the chair, ensure it is properly adjusted. Your feet flat on the floor or a footrest and thighs parallel to the floor. Ensure your armrests are aligned in such a way that your arms are gently resting with your shoulders relaxed.
These are key objects, such as your telephone, staplers, and printer. They must be close to your body to reduce reaching out. If you need to reach out to something out of your range, it’s better to stand up.
Mouse and Keyboard
Your mouse needs to be within easy reach and on the same surface as your keyboard. When typing and using your mouse, your wrists must be straight, your upper arms close to your body, and your hands slightly below elbow-level. It is recommended to use keyboard shortcuts to avoid extended usage of your mouse.
In case your chair is too high, and you are unable to rest your feet flat on the floor, or the height of your desk requires you to raise the height of your chair, use a footrest. If you can’t get a footrest, improvise with a stool or a stack of sturdy books.
Ensure there is enough clearance underneath your desk for your thighs, knees, and feet. If your desk is too low and can not be adjusted, you can improvise with sturdy books or blocks beneath the desk legs. Raise your chair if your desk is too high and cannot be adjusted.
Your computer must be positioned directly in front of you and about an arm’s length away. Make sure that the top of your screen is slightly below eye level. It is also essential that the monitor is directly behind the keyboard. If you are using bifocals, lower your computer screen an additional 1 to 2 inches to enhance comfortable viewing.
Other Factors to Consider
In addition to your monitor, desk, mouse, and keyboard, there are other ergonomic factors you need to consider.
Your workstation must have sufficient lighting to protect your eyes from strain. There needs to be enough lighting to light the computer screen as well as the desktop surface. However, make sure it is not too bright since it could fall on the screen, causing reflection.
Workout regularly to build a stronger core. A strong core helps build better posture and reduces back pain problems. You’ll also tireless, preventing wrong body positions such as slouching.
Take breaks working on your computer
This is perhaps the best solution to back, wrist, and eye problems. While it’s impossible to work less on your computer because your job profile detects you do, if you can get a few minutes off, don’t miss the opportunity.
Ergonomic Tips to Help You Avoid Fatigue
Maintaining a neutral position while working at your desk can be a touch to master. Due to years of poor posture habits, it can be painfully difficult to remain in perfect alignment at all times. The following are helpful office ergonomic tips that will help you build better working habits.
- When seated on your desk, ensure that the weight of your arms is supported at all times. When your arms are not supported, the muscles on your neck and shoulder will get fatigued.
- Watch the position of your head. If possible, work to keep the weight of your head directly above the base of the neck. Avoid craning your neck and head forward.
- Avoid slouching since it places a lot of pressure on the vertebrae and discs of your back. Instead, use the lumbar support of your chair to avoid sitting in a position that places your body weight more on one than the other. Ensure your chair is as close to your workstation as possible to avoid reaching or leaning.
- Picking up calls with the receiver in between your neck and ear is a terrible practice.
- Don’t place your monitor too close. It needs to be arm’s length away to prevent eye strain.
- Take preventive measures to protect yourself from screen glare. Also, ensure that your monitor is not placed in front of a bright background or window.
- When working for extended hours on your computer, look away about 20 feet for several seconds to give your eyes a break.
- Avoid dangling your feet while seated. In case your feet are unable to reach the floor, use a footrest or lower the chair.
To achieve maximum health and body wellness that you can feel while working and take home with you. You must have an ergonomic workplace. Using all the basics and tips we have outlined above; you can ensure that your workstation is adjustable and designed to fit your work needs. An ergonomic workstation needs to fit your body type uniquely. With variable ergonomic workplace products available, you can develop a workstation that suits you.